When, where did dogs become man's best friend? - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

When, where did dogs become man's best friend?

Updated:
© iStockphoto.com / Mehmet Salih Guler © iStockphoto.com / Mehmet Salih Guler
  • More NewsMore>>

  • Remembering Idora Park over the years

    Remembering Idora Park over the years

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:44:21 GMT
    This Saturday will mark the 30th anniversary of the devastating fire that led to the closing of the Idora Amusement Park. Glenn Stevens took a look back at Idora Park's history and the memories it made for generations. More >>
    This Saturday will mark the 30th anniversary of the devastating fire that led to the closing of the Idora Amusement Park. Glenn Stevens took a look back at Idora Park's history and the memories it made for generations. More >>
  • Trumbull County Sheriff Tom Altiere talks about hostage situation

    Trumbull County Sheriff Tom Altiere talks about hostage situation

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:29 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:29:48 GMT
    Following the five hour hostage situation at the Trumbull County jail that ended with the safe release of a corrections guard taken hostage by 3 inmates, Trumbull County Sheriff Tom Altiere spoke to 21 News.More >>
    Following the five hour hostage situation at the Trumbull County jail that ended with the safe release of a corrections guard taken hostage by 3 inmates, Trumbull County Sheriff Tom Altiere spoke to 21 News.More >>
  • GM ships kits to repair ignition in recalled cars

    GM ships kits to repair ignition in recalled cars

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:27 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:27:38 GMT
    General Motors says it has shipped thousands of kits consisting of ignition switches, ignition cylinders and key sets for older model small cars subject to a safety recall.According to a notice posted Wednesday on the General Motors corporate website, letters were mailed last week to about 1.4 million owners of 2003-2007 models telling them to contact a GM dealer to make an appointment for repairs, which GM says should take about 90 minutes. Wait times may be longer depending on the busyness ...More >>
    General Motors says it has shipped thousands of kits consisting of ignition switches, ignition cylinders and key sets for older model small cars subject to a safety recall.According to a notice posted Wednesday on the General Motors corporate website, letters were mailed last week to about 1.4 million owners of 2003-2007 models telling them to contact a GM dealer to make an appointment for repairs, which GM says should take about 90 minutes. Wait times may be longer depending on the busyness ...More >>

By Brenda Goodman
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Nov. 15, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Dogs are practically part of many human families, but it wasn't always that way.

At some point in history, biologists think humans figured out how to tame wolves. Over time, the ones that lived with humans evolved to have traits more suited to being treasured pets than fearsome predators.

Exactly when and where that process began has been the subject of fierce debate. Now, research from Finland moves the origins of the dog-human bond far back in history, to the hunters of ancient Europe.

"There have been a lot of studies looking at this question," said Kathryn Lord, an evolutionary biologist who studies the origins of dog and wolf behavior.

"A lot of different people have a lot of different answers, and they all disagree with each other, of course," said Lord, who is currently an adjunct professor at Gettysburg College, in Pennsylvania.

Previous studies comparing genetic material from ancient and modern dogs claimed that the first dogs began to be domesticated by farmers in the Middle East or Asia about 15,000 years ago.

Today a new study, published in the Nov. 15 issue of Science, suggests yet another point of origin for man's best friend.

By comparing genetic material from ancient and modern dogs and wolves, an international team of researchers says it looks more likely that dogs were first domesticated earlier than was previously believed.

"All our modern dogs have some roots in Europe," said Olaf Thalmann, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Turku, in Finland. "What we think is likely is that it happened something like 19,000 to 32,000 years ago."

During that time, humans were nomadic. They hunted and gathered food to survive. So if that's when wolves were first tamed, Thalmann believes both species somehow began to use each other to track and kill food.

"One could easily imagine that there was a mutually beneficial relationship between dogs and humans," he said. "You can think the wolf might have benefited from the leftovers at hunting sites. On the other hand, humans might have been benefiting from wolves [being] around during hunting," Thalmann added. Wolves might have driven animals in a certain direction, or helped to protect humans from other predators.

There is some precedent for the idea that two species can work together to hunt. A 1992 study from the University of California, Davis, found that coyotes and badgers work together to hunt small animals like ground squirrels. The coyote chases down the prey while badgers plug the underground escape routes to keep the small animals from getting away. The relationship increases their mutual hunting success. The pairs catch about a third more animals together than if they go it alone.

Still, Lord thinks it's unlikely that humans domesticated the dog to help with hunting. One theory is that ancient humans began to raise wolf puppies and started to select the most docile animals among them.

"It doesn't ring true to me. I've raised wolf puppies. And that's a really difficult process in order to do it properly," explained Lord, who was not involved with the new study.

She thinks early humans probably didn't have the resources to make sure young wolves got regular feedings of first milk and then regurgitated meat -- their standard diet.

"That's a lot of energy to put into something. You're already living on the edge of survival yourself," Lord noted.

"We don't see any evidence of any of this happening, either," she added. "We don't see hundreds of baby wolves near humans. It's just not in the archeological evidence."

Lord offers the alternative theory, that dogs domesticated themselves by beginning to eat human garbage after humans settled down to become farmers.

"When we sit in one place, we generate a lot of garbage and refuse," she pointed out. "And that, to this day, is a really valuable niche for a lot of animals. A lot of animals can survive by eating our garbage."

What's more, she added, most gene studies are based on faulty assumptions about what gene changes in dog and wolf DNA mean. She said that experts have poked holes in many such gene studies.

"It's always good to go out and look. It's great that they went out and gathered the data," Lord said.

However, "I don't think it's gotten us any closer to understand where dogs come from," she concluded.

More information

For more on dog evolution, head to the Public Broadcasting Service.

Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • Restaurant plans new statue of Joe Paterno

    Restaurant plans new statue of Joe Paterno

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:57 PM EDT2014-04-23 16:57:56 GMT
     (AP) - Fans of the late Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno are planning to commission a new bronze statue of him, and place it across from the school. Organizers say the statue will feature Paterno sitting on a bench reading. It's expected to cost about $300,000 and would hopefully be done in 2015 by Philadelphia sculptor Zenos Frudakis. Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers says the school isn't involved in the plan. But a restaurant owner in downtown State Col...More >>
     (AP) - Fans of the late Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno are planning to commission a new bronze statue of him, and place it across from the school. Organizers say the statue will feature Paterno sitting on a bench reading. It's expected to cost about $300,000 and would hopefully be done in 2015 by Philadelphia sculptor Zenos Frudakis. Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers says the school isn't involved in the plan. But a restaurant owner in downtown State Col...More >>
  • Woman allegedly sold heroin from hospital bed

    Woman allegedly sold heroin from hospital bed

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:01 AM EDT2014-04-23 15:01:45 GMT
    A woman in western Pennsylvania is accused of selling heroin from a hospital intensive care unit and a hospital room.More >>
    A woman in western Pennsylvania is accused of selling heroin from a hospital intensive care unit and a hospital room.More >>
  • Jet stowaway undetected for hours before departure

    Jet stowaway undetected for hours before departure

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-04-23 03:44:25 GMT
    Surveillance cameras at San Jose International Airport successfully captured the teenager on the tarmac, climbing up the landing gear of a jet. But in the end, the cameras failed because no one noticed the security...More >>
    A 15-year-old stowaway who survived a flight over the Pacific in a jet's wheel well spent seven hours undetected in what is supposed to be a highly secure area of San Jose International Airport before the flight...More >>
  • Hot ClicksHot ClicksMore>>

  • Can an app save the planet?

    Can an app save the planet?

    This startup's Earth Day launch has a massive goal: Cut carbon emissions globally. It has its work cut out for it.
    More >>
    This startup's Earth Day launch has a massive goal: Cut carbon emissions globally. It has its work cut out for it.
    More >>
  • 'Captain America' holds onto top box office spot

    'Captain America' holds onto top box office spot

    Monday, April 21 2014 10:47 PM EDT2014-04-22 02:47:39 GMT
    LOS ANGELES (AP) - Captain America really is unbeatable - at least at the box office"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" has been the top draw at theaters for three consecutive weeks, vanquishing would-be foes including the new thriller starring Johnny Depp.According to Monday's final box office figures, the Marvel sequel added $25.6 million in ticket sales over the weekend. "The Winter Soldier" has made more than $200 million domestically since logging the best April opening in history."Hea...More >>
    LOS ANGELES (AP) - Captain America really is unbeatable - at least at the box office"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" has been the top draw at theaters for three consecutive weeks, vanquishing would-be foes including the new thriller starring Johnny Depp.According to Monday's final box office figures, the Marvel sequel added $25.6 million in ticket sales over the weekend. "The Winter Soldier" has made more than $200 million domestically since logging the best April opening in history."Hea...More >>
  • Netflix poised to raise prices after strong 1Q

    Netflix poised to raise prices after strong 1Q

    Monday, April 21 2014 10:37 PM EDT2014-04-22 02:37:26 GMT
    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Netflix is preparing a sequel unlikely to be a hit with its subscribers. The Internet video service is about to raise its prices for the first time in three years to help pay for more Internet video programming such as its popular political drama "House of Cards."The increase, to take place sometime before July, will hike prices by $1 or $2 per month for new customers. The company's nearly 36 million current subscribers will continue to pay $8 per month for at least the n...More >>
    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Netflix is preparing a sequel unlikely to be a hit with its subscribers. The Internet video service is about to raise its prices for the first time in three years to help pay for more Internet video programming such as its popular political drama "House of Cards."The increase, to take place sometime before July, will hike prices by $1 or $2 per month for new customers. The company's nearly 36 million current subscribers will continue to pay $8 per month for at least the n...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms